Thanksgiving 2018

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year for many folks, mostly because it’s about food, family and friends. Oh, and that other “F” word, football.

There are no costumes required, no presents to buy, no eggs to hide, no flags to wave, no staying up late to make sure there’s going to be a New Year, the first new day of which often starting with a hangover.Thanksgiving is just eats and conversation. Usually we eat more than we should, but when any dinner is as good as roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, various baked veggies according to family tradition, cranberries, hot rolls, a couple of pies…it’s kind of a permissible sin to pardon, as we eat until we fall asleep.

And there is the “thanks” part of the day. We all have our problems, but we all have things to be thankful for. We all have sorrows, but we all have things that can delight us for a moment, if it’s merely frost on the pumpkin or a news story about two drunk raccoons. We all have doubts about our jobs, our kids, ourselves, but we can divert attention to other things with the flick of a switch, a turn of a page, a song on our lips. We all wonder if we’ve contributed much of anything to the world, and this can be a difficult one; but if we haven’t done it yet, we can tell ourselves that it ain’t over till it’s over.

I’m most thankful this minute that my computer’s working. It been acting up, like it’s on its last microchip or it’s mad at its motherboard; way too temperamental for me who expects it to work with as little complaint as a toaster.

I’m thankful I can still walk a mile and find my way home. I can’t skip, for some reason – don’t know why, since I could for years – and I can’t jump, climb trees or run. These are losses, but I don’t actually dwell on their abandoning my repertoire of motion. I can still whistle, but even if it’s only I whistling, it’s an annoying habit for anyone to have to listen to unless it’s coming from a distance. It’s a talent I thankfully don’t practice much.

My muscles are still there, however droopy, and I am happy that I can ride my bike and sweep my sidewalk.

I am happy that I am happy. And right now, it’s Thanksgiving that reminds me of this, gives me reason to be happy, to be thankful that I have more to be thankful for than to be crabby about.

One of my thank-yous goes to Abraham Lincoln who, in 1863, set aside the fourth Thursday in November as a national holiday for giving thanks; a troubling irony of its inception being that our country was at war with itself at that time, killing neighbor and sometimes brother.

We are divided again, in 2018, but thankfully most of us are not killing even when goaded. We have much to be thankful for, whichever side we have chosen.

Happy Thanksgiving to us all; say it, sincerely, to everyone you love and someone you don’t. You never know how a happy good word might turn a person around; merely in the saying of it, it could be you who gets turned.

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